NBA Fast Break: Six Notes On Friday’s NBA Playoffs Action

04.27.13 4 years ago 24 Comments

1. Somehow, the Knicks won by 14 despite only going 3-8 from the line…as a unit! Perhaps it was the arsenal of outside shots that seemed to fall whenever a basket was needed, but Spike Lee’s bunch are one win away from doing something they haven’t done since Jay-Z’s Roc La Familia album – win a series.

Calling a spade a spade, the biggest thing they have going for them at the moment is confidence. Carmelo’s got that pep in his step. J.R. Smith is doing (good) J.R. Smith things (you knew Jason Terry didn’t really want to run up on him; he just wanted someone to hold him back). And the team has found their three-point stroke again. As of April 27, 2013, the Knicks look good.

Frame this because I won’t praise the Knicks too often. Want to see a Knicks fan smile turn upside down though? Pass them this link.

2. Meanwhile, can we finally put to rest the whole “maybe they’re better off without Rondo” narrative? Boston put forth its third consecutive horrific shooting performance going 40% on the night. Ray Felton continues to breeze by defenders as if he were Russell Westbrook-East and the lack of continuity on offense has been outright nauseous to witness.

Plus, in the “well-that’s-not-going-to-get-it-done” book, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are a combined 35-for-83 in the series. K.G. is one of my favorite players ever, and hearing him say he’s not giving up on the series is admirable. But if the end doesn’t come Sunday, it’ll just be Game 5. Which leads me to my last thought, are we on the brink the final four quarters of the Pierce/Garnett (and Rondo) era? It’s been one hell of a (stressful/at times, dominating/stressful/stressful again) run if so.

3. Speaking of final four quarters, the nightmare is almost over, Laker Nation. Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock started for Los Angeles in a real live playoff game, in which the Lakers would lose by 31 points (the largest home loss in team history). To both’s credit, however, they at least showed heart and embraced the challenge combining for 48 points and seven assists.

To be real though, the quicker L.A.’s season ends is for the betterment of all parties involved. I had a buddy tell me before Game 3, “I hope we get swept. Just take me out of my misery. This has been the most embarrassing season of my life. Just joke on me and get it over with.” Sheesh. Despite a triple-double from Pau Gasol and a 25-11 effort from Dwight Howard, the Lakers were undone by mustering only nine bench points. Granted, they’ve barely got enough bodies to fill out a roster, but compare that to the fact San Antonio poured in 46 from their reserves.

4. Who the hell does Tim Duncan think he is?

Timmy turned back the clock going for 26 points and nine rebounds from an extremely efficient 12-16 from the field. In fact, Tim’s one man clinic to start the third quarter all but poured out liquor for any hope of a Laker comeback. All that’s well and good, but here’s to hoping Greg Popovich does the right thing in Game 4. Suit up Tracy McGrady and let that man exorcise his playoff demons, Pop. Get him in the damn stat book! Get T-Mac out of the first round! I feel like we’re about to witness one of the greatest runs of professional futility of all time come to an end. Remember where you are when this happens, folks.

5. As a guest yesterday on the Earnestly Speaking Radio Show, I noted Clippers/Grizzlies as my favorite playoff series thus far mainly because there’s genuine hate involved. Nuggets/Warriors is by far the most exciting though.

Even with Denver blowing a double-digit lead in the second half, hats go off to Ty Lawson who did everything in his power to steal one on the road going for 35 points and 10 assists. Unfortunately, the poor guy dribbled the ball out of bounds in the closing seconds, too. But buddy played his ass off in one of the more thrilling one-on-one duels in recent playoff memory with Stephen Curry.

6. Hey, look, now the Warriors believe they can actually win this series. They stole one on the road in arguably the toughest arena in America. Now they’ve fought back at home with the crowd literally resembling an insane asylum in a 110-108 victory. With Klay Thompson’s off night, Jarrett Jack and Harrison Barnes (remember when he was called a bust at UNC and people doubted his pro potential?) filled in exceptionally well with a stat line of 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists combined.

Yet, as it most normally is, it was Stephen Curry who led the show on a bum ankle with 29 points and 11 assists. Look, I’ve been saying it all year. His 50-point game is coming soon and when it happens, we’re going to be talking about it for awhile, too. Through his first three postseason games, Dale’s baby boy has 78 points and 33 assists. What does that mean long term? Probably nothing, but the only other guys to post those numbers are Oscar Roberston, Kevin Johnson and Chris Paul.

Not exactly bad company for a guy who definitely shouldn’t have been an All-Star.

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